Some Blow Flutes

By Mary Vingoe

Some Blow Flutes
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Inspired by a quote from the I Ching about how we respond to tragedy -- "Some weep, some blow upon flutes" -- Mary Vingoe's play is the story of Costas, an elderly Greek shoe repair man whose wife Elena suffers from dementia and whose marriage has been eroded by a family secret. ... Read more


Inspired by a quote from the I Ching about how we respond to tragedy -- "Some weep, some blow upon flutes" -- Mary Vingoe's play is the story of Costas, an elderly Greek shoe repair man whose wife Elena suffers from dementia and whose marriage has been eroded by a family secret. Costas is in denial of his wife's illness but Lia, their teenage granddaughter who cares for her grandmother, is not. Costas' life is altered when Sandra, a professional organizer who cannot begin to organize her own life, enters his shop. An unlikely, at times humorous friendship develops between the two -- until we discover that Sandra's estranged daughter Marijke is fourteen and pregnant. A chance meeting between Elena and Marijke leads to an unravelling of past lives and buried grievances which play out with unexpected results. Some Blow Flutes brings the issue of dementia into the open and explores the possibility of compassion and redemption in the face of overwhelming odds.

Mary Vingoe

Mary Vingoe is a director, artistic director, festival director, playwright, teacher, and actor who has worked across the country. Vingoe is celebrated for co-founding four major theatre companies in Canada: Toronto's Nightwood Theatre, Ship's Company Theatre in Parrsboro, NS, The Eastern Front Theatre in Halifax and the Magnetic North Theatre Festival at Canada's National Arts Centre. Vingoe's 2011 play Living Curiosities, about PT Barnum and the Nova Scotia giantess, Anna Swan, is published by Playwrights Canada Press. Her 2013 play Refuge, which deals with the tragic fate of a failed refugee claimant to Canada, has received productions in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Refuge is published by Scirocco Drama and was short listed for the 2016 Governor General's Award for Drama.Some Blow Flutes was nominated for best new play at the 2019 Nova Merritt Awards.



A beautiful older woman is in a very messy room. She sits in her chair, there are tissues scattered around her.


COSTAS at his shoe repair shop. He wears an ancient head lamp which appears to be the only source of illumination apart from a little daylight. He is surrounded by garbage, empty suitcases, discarded coffee cups and food wrappers, shelves filled with shoes of all kinds, some repaired, some waiting. Some very old, some newer styles. The old-fashioned till does not appear to be in use. There are yellowing posters of Greece, the Parthenon, Crete, Epidaurus, etc. The calendar is three years out of date. There is a Greek orthodox portrait of Christ on one wall. Costas does not actually stand up, but rather rolls in his chair to locate various tools. A battery radio plays. A stylish, middle-aged woman (SANDRA) enters hurriedly, rings the bell. He does not look up. She hesitates at the debris on the floor and reconsiders.

SANDRA: Hello there.

COSTAS is not looking up.

SANDRA: Are you open?

COSTAS: What you mean lady? I always open.

SANDRA: Sorry I wasn't sure, the light.

COSTAS: Call the power company, no look at me.

SANDRA: I didn't know there was an outage.

COSTAS: Outage, who say outage? I pay bills, they not come. Vermin.

SANDRA: Well I brought these.

COSTAS: Let me see, lady.

He inspects them.

SANDRA: I wasn't sure you were open. It's so dark.

COSTAS: What you think I no see good enough? (He taps his headlamp. )

SANDRA: I wasn't sure.

COSTAS: (Pronouncing on shoes. ) Garbage. All garbage.

SANDRA: But I paid a lot of money for those!

COSTAS: You need know how spend your money lady. I show you. ..He shows her the soles. You see, these, synthetic. You not glue nothing to them. It not stick. You pay me big money and they fall to pieces, you come back and you mad. Panagia mou!

SANDRA: Okay, is there anything you can do?

COSTAS: For this I need special glue. I need to scrape. Two weeks.

SANDRA: Two weeks!

COSTAS: You don't like? You no ask me. Best I can do with synthetic soles.

SANDRA: They're good shoes.

COSTAS: Okay, your choice Lady. He gives back shoes.


"Some Blow Flutes is yet another gift from Mary Vingoe to Canadian theatre; an opportunity for actors and audiences to engage with truthful characters navigating dense moral dilemmas, and with enough secrets to fill each moment to bursting. " - Jillian Keiley, AD English Theatre, National Arts Centre

"Deeply moved by this play. Great work Mary Vingoe and wonderful performances. " - Camelia Frieberg, producer Oscar-nominated The Sweet Hereafter

"Fantastic play - deeply moving; great cast; beautiful, taut structure. Sure needed those Kleenex. " - Halifax Chronicle Herald

"A rare night of intricate, detailed work that keeps you engrossed, craving more and yet satisfied to your emotional core. " - Jeremy Webb AD Neptune Theatre

"This haunting piece, written and directed by Mary Vingoe, will leave you speechless" - Sam Rosenthal, AD Eastern Front Theatre

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